Imagine a Dutch farmer named Adrian. He arrived in the New World from the Netherlands in 1639 and settled on a rich piece of land with his family. He loved his land, but as years passed, it became painfully difficult to live there with any sort of contentment.
In 1644, his English neighbors attacked his farm. They threw rocks at the cozy house and threatened Adrian and his family with clubs as they worked in the fields. They came to Adrian repeatedly with false deeds and treaties and claims that land really belonged to England. Adrian knew that he lived in Dutch New Netherland. He knew this as well as he knew every tree and stream and growth near his property. One day, he heard that English from the Bay Colony actually settled illegally on Dutch Long Island and in other places, claiming that the land was now “New England”.
Adrian was confused and angry because his colonial government did nothing to stop these intruders. The Dutch militia arrested some English settlers and brought them to New Amsterdam. But they were released and returned to their unlawful settlements in what should have been a Dutch colony. Adrian could have moved closer to Fort Amsterdam, but the fort was on the crowded island of the Manhattan Natives. Besides, they had a good farm in Connecticut and really wanted to stay. Every day he wondered why the government could not protect them as they protected their precious fur trappers. After all, aren’t crops as important as beaver pelts?
Adrian wanted his children to grow up on Dutch land with their native heritage, but he needed to live in peace. Would the English ever stop pushing them off their own land? Adrian did decide to stay on his farm. He just hoped for the best ... hoped for an end to all of the petty bickering and quarreling some day. A bit of relief came in 1650 when Dutch colonial Director Kieft signed a treaty with the English to define the boundary line of the two colonies. All land west of Hartford, Connecticut, remained Dutch territory. The land east of Hartford became English land.
This was enough of a blow for Adrian. He hoped for peace without such concession. But where could he go? What could he do? Just as he resigned myself to the English presence near his land, an unthinkable event occurred when Peter Stuyvesant became the Director of New Netherland. Soon, Adrian realized that it would not matter on which side of the Hartford line he lived. All of Dutch New Netherland, all life as he knew it, ceased to exist. The Dutch abandoned their claim to rule in the Americas. Finally, the English had it all. And Adrian was left to wonder if there was any future for him in this “New World”.